Hospital, Prison and Campus ministry are all important outreach efforts by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Together they combine as one of the six ministry areas that receive funds from the Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA).
This is a first-hand account from Michael Schreiner, a Campus Minister at the University of Cincinnati, on how the Catholic Bearcat Community is a vital ministry for young Catholics:
There is something humbling about walking with students as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Many students seek us out specifically to find a community of faith to sustain them, actively looking for friendships rooted in Christ and striving for holiness. Others come uncertain of who God is or what a relationship with Christ would look like but deep within their hearts, they know that they are lacking something important. Some are coming to Mass on Sunday because it’s routine or because their parents told them to, but have not yet encountered the personal love of Jesus present for them in the liturgy. Some have found us because of our free dinners, and know that they can be fed in the most literal sense. All are welcome!
The Catholic Bearcat community seeks to embrace each and every individual, regardless of how tattered and torn they might be, and connect them to the transformative love of Christ, help them to cultivate an integrated life of faith, and strengthen them to proclaim the Gospel boldly in word and deed. Primarily, we hope these young people recognize their deepest identity: beloved children of God, members of Christ’s body, baptized faithful in the Church, our family of faith.
As a community, we seek to offer ways for students to grow in their faith: a life rooted in the Sacraments, retreats, small groups/bible studies, and service to name a few. Through these opportunities, we give students the chance to grow in relationship with one another and experience God’s grace in profound and meaningful moments.
The Church at UC is beautifully alive in these students. Christ’s love is present and active.
Our students are workers in the vineyard; They have created a culture of encounter and invitation at our Newman Parish as their faith, by its very nature, turns outward to the needs of their peers. The desire to share their faith with others is growing, and they have come to understand that this occurs in the habits and actions of their day-to-day lives, and are beginning to see that living the Gospel in their own way is the best “program” of evangelization: recognizing their own giftedness, their own belovedness, and being able to respond to the world with the hands, feet, eyes, and ears of Christ.
It has been an unbelievable blessing to serve these young people as their campus minister as I watch them grow in love with God and live into their faith with such authenticity and joy.
I’m so grateful for the support we receive through CMA because it brings young people into communion with the love of Christ, and there is nothing more beautiful or humbling by comparison. Thank you and may God bless you!